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‘art projects’

DIY: custom canvases for the nursery

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

In a rare moment of motivation, I decided to make some artwork for the new nursery. I had seen projects similar to this all over Pinterest so I decided to give it a shot. I was pleasantly surprised to find it was a quick and easy endeavor. They have since been hung in the nursery, one over each crib. I’ll post some photos of the room real soon.

In the meantime, here’s how this little project came together.

I started out with two blank canvases (18″ x 24″), some acrylic craft paint and 2 inch vinyl adhesive letters.

I painted each canvas in a light coat of paint.

Starting at the edge, I affixed the letters to each canvas.

Then I gave each canvas another coat of paint in the corresponding color.

After allowing them a few days to dry, I slowly peeled off the letters…and here they are. Super easy and super cute!

DIY: tiny felt wreaths

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

The holidays always seem to sneak up on me, and this year was no exception. Since many of my friends are also new mothers, we excused each other from the traditional gift exchange, but I still wanted to try to give them something, even if it was something little. Felt wreath ornaments were a project I’d wanted to try for a while, so I figured I’d give it a shot, time permitting, and would forgive myself if they never made it to fruition.

I got a head start last month and searched a few thrift stores for wool sweaters. Any type of wool will felt (lambswool, angora, etc.) as long as it’s 100% wool. I lucked out and found a few sweaters pretty quickly, but I knew I needed more, so I asked my sister to join in on the search and she scored big time. Thanks Anna!

Felting is really quite easy, but it’s time consuming, so I allowed myself a few days to complete the process. The key to felting is a hot wash, lots of agitation, a cold rinse, and a hot dry cycle. Some people do it by hand, but I really needed to expedite the process, so I used my washer & dryer. When doing this, the most important thing is to protect the machine from all the lint that felting creates. So, I put each sweater in an old pillow case and secured the ends tightly with a rubber band. We have a front loading washer, so I added some old towels to the load to help with the agitation. Using the longest wash cycle and hot water, I let the machine do its job. After a cold rinse, I took the sweaters out of the pillowcases and tossed them in the dryer to dry on high heat. Then I repeated that process a few times. Super easy and it worked like a charm! My sweaters felted perfectly and shrunk to about 1/4 of their original size. After the last dry cycle, I laid them out flat to cool and to prevent any wrinkles from setting.

Felted and ready to go!

I grabbed my hearty sewing scissors and cut the sweaters into 1 1/2 inch strips and then cut the strips into 1 1/2 inch squares.

Sweater strips.

1 1/2 inch squares

Armed with a pile of wool squares and some thin wire that I grabbed from my jewelry supplies, I started threading the wire with the wool.

Here we go!

Threading the wool onto the wire.

Thirty-two pieces of wool will make a wreath about 4 inches in diameter. I thought that was a good size for ornaments, so I twisted the ends of the wire to secure them, snipped off the extra wire, tied some ribbon around the wreath and ta-da!

Finished wreath!

Up-close look at the felt.

Little cuties.

The perfect little ornaments! I’m really happy with how they turned out…and just in time for Christmas. Whew!

Wishing everyone a very festive holiday season! See you all in the New Year!

A gift of monthly date nights

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

I love bragging about my creative friends and Niki Wing is at the very top of that list. Shortly after we met, I invited her to a party. Not only did she show up, but she taught us all how to make balloon animals and then led us in a balloon animal safari hunt in the backyard with a bb gun. Clearly, this girl exists on an entirely different level of fun.

She recently reached out to me to share a gift she had made for her brother’s wedding. I was completely floored by her ingenuity, creativity, and the sweet personalization of the gift. I was really happy when she said I could share it with all of you. I think this is the perfect gift for a wedding or anniversary.

Here are the details and some photos.

A year of monthly date nights – she made themed envelopes and cards for each month explaining what the date night consisted of and sewed pockets on the cards to slide tickets and gift cards inside. For example, for December’s gift, “buy some hot cocoa and drive around to look at Christmas lights”, she included  a Starbucks gift card. Another month’s theme is “go for a bike ride and have a picnic” and she included a map of a biking trail near their house. September will be their first anniversary and she told them to “recreate their first date” at the zoo and included zoo tickets.

Totally awesome, right?

Here are the supplies she used:
9 1/2″ x 4″ envelopes with tie closure decorated using scrapbook paper
Small brown cards and month name plates (could be found in the craft section at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby)
Small cards to fit inside using cardstock and a color printer
A paper pocket sewn onto each card to hold some of the essentials for each date night

Here are all of the monthly date night themes:

October: “Head out to a local farm and enjoy a hayride, corn maze and pumpkin picking!”  She included a print out of a local farm that has these events during the month of October and $20 for them to purchase a pumpkin.
November: “Dust off those bikes and head out for a trail ride!”  She included a map of a local bike trail that was just completed in their area.
December: “Pick up something warm to drink and drive around looking at Christmas lights!”  She included a Starbucks gift card so they can get something warm to drink on their date.
January: “It’s cold outside, so go warm up at a theater and enjoy a movie date night!”  She included two tickets to their local movie theater and a pass for 2 drinks and a popcorn.
February: “Spread the Love.  Volunteer for a day at the Nashville Humane Association in honor of Patton!”  Patton is the dog that they adopted last summer.  She included a picture of Patton.
March: “Go have a laugh!  Check out a local improv theater.  Improv Date Night!”  She included a card that lists local improv theaters and their websites so they could find a show that works with their schedule.  She also included $25 so they can buy tickets and concessions.
April: “The weather is warming up!  Head outside and have a mini-golf date!”  She included the name of a local mini-golf course and $20 for admission and concessions.
May: “Summer is almost here!  Spend the afternoon picking berries!”  She included a card that contains the names of local berry farms and information for the annual strawberry festival near their house.
June: “Pack the car with a picnic and blankets and head to the Drive-In Theater!  Enjoy a movie under the stars!”  She included a card that has two drive-in movie locations and $20 for tickets and concessions.  She also noted that both drive-in theaters are dog friendly – just in case they wanted to take the pup!
July: “Buy some Talenti Gelato and have an Ice Cream Sculpting Contest!”  The couple loves Talenti Gelato, so she included a gift card for $10 to their grocery store.
August: “Go have a Star Party or watch a movie at the Planetarium!”  She included information for the local planetarium and $20 to pay for admission and concessions.
September: “Happy Anniversary!  One year as a married couple!  Go the the Nashville Zoo for your first date all over again!”   She checked with the zoo and confirmed the tickets wouldn’t expire until the end of the month, so she purchased two tickets and slid them into the pocket.

How amazingly sweet and creative is this gift? It has inspired me to think outside the box and invest the time into making personal gifts for a few weddings that are coming up. Hope it inspired you too!
I’d love to share a creation you’re proud of! Email me at emily@eclairecreations.com.
Till next time,

DIY: I’m making necklaces, y’all!

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

So sorry it’s taken me a while to post…there’s a very short (and very cute) man in the house who’s calling all the shots these days. While he’s napping and I have a few minutes to myself, I wanted to let everyone know that I’ve dabbled some more in jewelry making…and have discovered I love making long necklaces!

And as much as I hate to let some of them go, I really want to be able to say that someone in Seattle or Savannah or San Francisco is wearing one of my creations. So, I’ve listed a few of them for sale in my Etsy store! I hope you’ll check them out.

Here they are: http://www.etsy.com/shop/eClaireCreationsShop

Until next time, stay inspired!

~e.Claire

DIY: arm candy and a BIG announcement!

Monday, August 20th, 2012

I had some girlfriends over for dinner last week and when my friend, Kristen, arrived I noticed she was wearing the cutest little collection of bracelets. Some were braided and some were beaded…they were a perfect assortment. I pretty much spent the evening coveting her arm candy.

I hardly ever wear bracelets because I have the teeny tiniest of wrists. Before buying anything, I have to make sure I can make some adjustments to shorten the clasp, remove some beads, etc. It’s just too much work to justify the expense, so typically my wrists are naked. And a little sad.

After having fun making the karma bracelets recently, I decided to dig out my supplies and see if I could make any magic. I have a ton of beads and stones, twine and clasps…so why not try to turn them into something?

You know what happened? I fell in love! It’s like I tapped into a passion I didn’t even know I had. I got into such a rhythm that I was making several bracelets in one sitting. Here are a few photos:

I decided to do something that, looking back, seems WAY overdue….and I’m super excited to announce that I’ve opened up my very own Etsy shop! Yep, eClaireCreationsShop is open for business!!

I’m totally addicted to making these little bracelets, and I’m starting to explore other types of jewelry, too. I’ll also be adding some knitted hats & scarves, decoupage projects, wine cork crafts, etc. so I hope you’ll stop by often to see what new little gems are available!


DIY: personalized pacifier clip

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

So, I go back to work this week. Simply cannot believe it. Fastest three months of my life. Luckily, I get to take Sam with me. I’m fortunate to have a fabulous day care center in the building where I work. It’s a great program with really nice people and I know he’ll be in good hands. I also know I’ll probably spend more time there than in my office the first few weeks.

Over the weekend I prepared him for his first day of “school” and packed up diapers, clothing, pacifiers, etc. Everything had to be labeled, which brought me to a slight conundrum. How do you label a pacifier? We never bought cute little pacifiers with his name on them and even though there are endless options on Etsy, I knew I didn’t have time for anything to be shipped. So, I decided to just work with what I had on hand and get a little resourceful. I made personalized clips that attach the pacifier to his shirt using materials I happened to have around the house. This included random ribbon from my gift wrap supplies, a couple of  hair ties, and a Sharpie marker. I know…classy!

*Please note: I wasn’t even going to post this little project since it’s hardly my finest work, but I decided to since it shows that you really can create something out of nothing.

Here’s a quick rundown on how I made them.

 

I promise I won’t be one of those moms who sends my kid to school in anything that warrants getting picked on. But in this case, I was pretty desperate and it doesn’t seem like Sam minds all that much.

DIY – tiny karma bracelets

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

I love seeing that friendship bracelets are making a comeback. When I was young Iwould sit in my room with my little box of cross stitch twine, braiding and weaving bracelets for myself and for my friends. And in college I made macramé necklaces with hemp and beads. (I also wore tie dye and listened to Phish…hippie phase? Absolutely.)

I recently spotted “karma bracelets” on Etsy and I love the concept. Chic friendship bracelets with some good karma woven in…right up my alley. It’s been more than a year since I dug out all my jewelry supplies, but my last experiment was a success, so I decided to dust off my jewelry kit and make some karma bracelets using the knots I learned when I was younger.

I found a few old necklaces that had the type of rings I was looking for, so I took them apart in the name of recycling. I found some dyed hemp twine at my local art store and thought it would work perfectly. Guess I’m still a hippie at heart.

Once I got into a rhythm I was able to make them pretty quickly. The end result? The cutest little things you’ve ever seen! Here’s how I did it.

I started with the hemp twine and some salvaged bits of old necklaces.

I cut four pieces of twine – two 30 inches long and two 20 inches long. I folded the 20 inch pieces in half, looped them thru the ring and pulled the ends thru the loop.  

 I folded the 30 inch piece in half and centered it under the two middle strands. I folded the right piece over the middle strands and under the left piece. Then I pulled the left piece under the right and middle strands and through the loop on the right side.

 

I then folded the left piece over the middle strands and under the right piece. Then I pulled the right piece under the left and middle strands and through the loop on the left side.

I repeated the steps – left, right, left, right . . .

Once I reached the right length, I flipped it over and started on the other side.

Then I tied a simple knot on each end.

Normally, the bracelets just tie to the wrist, but I thought I’d experiment with clasps so they could be mixed and matched easily.

And here they are! They turned out really well and were so super easy.

So, I think I’ll make a bunch and give them away as little gifts of friendship. Just doing my part to spread some good karma!

DIY: wine cork wreath

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

As the heat wave in Atlanta continues, little Sam and I are seeking refuge indoors. With only about one outing a day, I’m getting a bit stir crazy. Luckily, he’s napping more during the day so I have a few hours at a time to dust off my craft supplies and indulge in little projects. And I have a lot of them to work on!

I’ve decided to be proactive this year and get a head start on holiday gifts. I don’t know about you, but the holiday season always sneaks up on me and I find myself in a rush to turn my various ideas into gifts. So, with a few weeks left of maternity leave, I’m getting started early. I’ll probably make some fabric and fleece wreaths again this year. I also have a few scarves and hats to get to work on…and yes, it’s quite strange to knit in the middle of the summer. Since I still have a lot of corks left over from my bath mat project, I thought I’d put them to good use and make wreaths out of them.

Oh yea….spoiler alert!! If you know me personally, you may find one of these under your Christmas tree…so, just act surprised or something.

It’s a pretty simple process, only involving corks, my hot glue gun and a straw wreath that I picked up from my local craft store. But, since I was only able to work on it while the little one napped, it took me a couple of days. Guess it’s a good thing I’m getting started early.

Here are some pics of the process…more posts to come!

starting supplies

I glued the corks onto the wreath in a random pattern.

*I found that leaving the plastic wrapping on the wreath helps the glue stick easier and makes for less clean-up. Tiny pieces of straw tend to fall off when the wreath is unwrapped and handled.

slowly making progress...

Once I had covered the wreath in corks, I grabbed some ribbon from my stash and tied a big bow at the top. I wrapped the ribbon a few times at the top creating a loop that the wreath can hang from.

And here it is:

ta-da!

side view

While it’s a little strange to tap into the holiday spirit in the middle of the summer, it feels great to have some time on my hands to use in an industrious manner. I have quite a few projects that I want to complete before going back to work, so stay tuned!

DIY: braided fabric headbands

Monday, June 11th, 2012

One thing I’ve learned is that when you’re pregnant, you get a lot of advice. A LOT.

A little tidbit of wisdom that I wish I would have taken to heart was given to me by a friend who advised me to avoid making any drastic changes to my appearance. What she knew (and what I didn’t) was that with all the physical changes in my future it would be tempting to want to adopt a new look. She warned me that a conservative approach would be the best approach.

I didn’t listen. And it turns out; bangs weren’t the best idea in my final weeks of pregnancy. I actually liked the way they looked, but I didn’t like the maintenance involved.  And I discovered that I absolutely hate having my hair in my face. Sheesh. Lesson learned. So now, I’m in that awkward in-between-hair-styles phase while they grow out.

Lucky for me, hair accessories are really popular right now and cute ones are easy to find. I picked up a few fabric hair bands from a local boutique and quickly noticed how simple they were. So, in true form, I grabbed some fabric from the studio and decided to make some of my own. They were surprisingly easy to replicate. And now, I’m armed with enough accessories to help me bridge the gap between impromptu bangs and a more favorable look.

Here’s how I did it:

My assortment of fabric.

I cut six strips of fabric about an inch wide and about twenty inches long.

Using our table as an anchor, I pinned the ends of three strips and braided them together. (Our table has a lot of natural ridges in it, I don’t recommend poking a hole where there isn’t one! You could always use tape on a table or countertop.)

I followed the same steps with the other set of strips and kept them pinned so they didn’t come undone.

Using my machine, I sewed each end together.

I repeated this step for each piece.

Once the ends were all secured, I hand stitched the elastic to each end. Using a needle and thread was easier than using my machine since it was pretty thick to stitch together.

Here they are…

I gotta say, they turned out to be pretty darn cute. More importantly, they do the trick. Since it seems summer has already arrived in Atlanta, I’m happy to have a way to get my hair off my shoulders and out of my face!

And speaking of new arrivals, our little man made his debut on May 3rd and he’s captivated us completely. We’re just head over heels in love with him. Here’s our first family photo…and another shot of one of the headbands. I’m not kidding when I say I wear them all the time!

DIY: our little man cave

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Okay, here it is…Tiny T’s little man cave! I’m so happy with how it all came together. At least once a day, I find myself sitting in the rocking chair admiring all of our handiwork and envisioning our little guy sleeping in his crib or picking a book to read with his mom and dad. It’s just such a sweet place to be. I can’t wait to bring him home and enjoy the feeling of true completeness.